The Phoenix Suns didn't show any intensity at all until the final two minutes of the game. Even when you're playing a team that hasn't won on the road against a Western team in 20 tries, you can't do that and hope to win.
The Orlando Magic completely froze up in the second half, but the Suns appeared to not even care for most of it. First, the Magic had only 8 field goals versus 5 turnovers in the third quarter, but still held an 11-point lead after three. Then, they had five field goals to eight turnovers in the fourth but still had a three point lead with a minute left.
But then Orlando got a big bucket (on three+ steps) by Nikola Vucevic that so incensed coach Hornacek that he got called for a technical that allowed Orlando to score three points on that possession and double their lead again.
The Suns played so badly that a Magic team with as many turnovers than field goals in the second half won the game.
The home team made it close at the end, but you just can't expect to keep getting way down on teams and come back to win. That's 3 losses in their last 4 games. Two of them to easily beatable teams.
Isaiah Thomas was out once again with the ankle bruise, and Eric Bledsoe freelanced his way to two fouls in the first few minutes of the game so Goran Dragic was left to run the Suns show.
The game started with neither team playing any defense. Each team got to run the play they called to perfection. The score see-sawed back and forth, with the Magic leading 16-15 at the 5:49 mark.
Channing Frye started for Orando but did not take a shot in 6 minutes before being taken out so Orlando could go to a three-guard lineup. Still, the Magic made 2/3 of threes (Fournier and Harris). Fournier is shooting 43.8% on threes and Harris 38.9%. So why guard them right?
Anyway, the Suns didn't seem interested in stopping any kind of offense by the Magic. They only limited themselves to 27 points in the opening stanza (27-23 Magic).
The second quarter played out similar to the first with the Suns struggling to find themselves.
Then Gerald Green woke the whole crowd and the team with an awesome self-oop-dunk.
Of course, this woke up the Suns from their funk. They'd only scored 36 points to that point, halfway through the second quarter.
In fact, the Suns went into a total funk for the rest of the half. They kept dumping the ball into the half court for post ups and their players just aren't post up players. Sometimes going for the mismatch isn't the right thing to do.
The Magic finished the quarter ON AN 18-3 RUN to take a 52-39 lead.
13 turnovers (for 18 points surrendered). 38% shooting. 8 of 11 threes clanked.
The Magic had a 13 point lead at halftime without even playing well. You don't have to play well when your opponent can't score points.
The Suns had 39 points. THIRTY NINE POINTS!
Let's see if the Suns can make one of their comebacks. (ignores visions of early 2012-13 season with all those 10+ point deficits)
The Magic started with a jumper, but then the Suns reeled off 8 straight points and looked a lot more like a winning team than at any point in the first half.
Luckily, this is the Magic who have lose 20 straight road games against the West.
But then the Suns got sloppy, missing four layups in the next few minutes and found themselves still down 8 with 4:00 left in the third quarter. With the Magic going small with Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Evan Fournier sharing the court so much, it would have been nice to throw Isaiah Thomas out there with Bledsoe and Dragic for some shot making.
The quarter was ugly after that, with the Suns back in the mud on offense and Orlando coming back down to earth on that end too.
The Suns were still shooting just 36% after three and couldn't cut into the lead. Despite shooting 8 for 19 with 6 turnovers in the third quarter, the Orlando Magic still led by 11 after three quarters.
The fourth quarter started with Willie Green scoring on a breakaway and Elfrid Payton driving into consecutive shooting fouls to give the Magic a 16-point lead. That's a 13-4 run now for the Magic after the Suns had cut the lead to 6 late in the third.
35% shooting now, at the 10 minute mark of the fourth.
62 points on the board with 8 minutes left.
The Suns lowest scoring game of this season has been 88 points on November 19 at Detroit, when they won by 2.
The Suns scored as low as 86 points twice in 2013-14, and fewer than 90 in 6 games.
They scored as low as 69 points in the 2012-13 season. They had 21 games under 90 points in that season. Ugly.
With 6:19 left, the Suns "cut" the Magic lead to 11. I swear the Magic are just sitting there waiting for the bomb to drop from the Suns and the Suns are just shrugging their shoulders.
The Suns finally woke up with about a minute left and got a few offensive rebounds on one possession to cut the lead to six. Then they cut it to three, 83-80 and it looked like the Suns might be able to prevail.
To that point, the Magic had 13 second-half field goals vs. 13 turnovers, scoring only 31 second half points in 23 minutes. Yet they had the lead.
Nikola Vucevic walked right into a successful post up, drawing the ire of coach Hornacek to draw a technical foul and suddenly what was a 3-point deficit was back up to 6.
And that's all she wrote.
YOU CANNOT CONTINUE TO GET DOWN 15+ POINTS AND EXPECT TO WIN.